Microsoft: Vista-ready products to ship by holidays

Microsoft continues to assure customers products will be ready for Vista when it ships next year

Microsoft continues its efforts to inform customers that they can purchase products compatible with Windows Vista as soon as the operating system is available.

At the Digital Life 2006 Conference in New York, Microsoft is expected to announce that more than 250 hardware and software products have received either the "Certified for Windows Vista" or "Works with Windows Vista" logos, and will be available in time for the holiday shopping season in November and December.

While Windows Vista was originally supposed to ship for consumers around the same time, Microsoft in March pushed back that release until January 2007. Business users should have Vista sometime in November.

Products tagged "Certified for Windows Vista" will deliver a premium Windows Vista experience, while those tagged "Works with Windows Vista" are compatible with the OS and will work reliably with it.

Mike Sievert, corporate vice president of Windows Client Marketing at Microsoft, is expected to highlight Vista-ready partner products in his keynote at the Digital Life show.

Sievert also is expected to show products still undergoing the logo testing process. Those products will include Canon's HV-10 HD Camcorder, Nvidia GeForce graphics cards, Logitech's MX3200 Laser cordless desktop set and the MX Revolution mouse, among others.

He also will highlight that ATI Technologies, Canon, Logitech and Nvidia have products available that have already qualified for the Certified for Windows Vista logo, and other companies, such as Belkin, CA, Corel and D-Link Systems, will have Certified for Windows Vista products available around the same time Vista is available.

Microsoft has been making a major push to have PCs and third-party products ready to run on and with Windows Vista once it ships. PCs labeled "Windows Vista Capable" and "Windows Vista Premium Ready" are already on the market thanks to a program Microsoft launched with hardware partners earlier this year.

PCs with the Windows Vista Capable logo can run lower-end versions of Vista, such as Windows Vista Home Basic. Meanwhile, Windows Vista Premium Ready means the machines can run the higher-end versions of Vista, such as Windows Vista Home Premium and Windows Vista Ultimate.

In addition to the partner product news, Sievert on Thursday also will announce that two key software features of Vista -- Internet Explorer 7 (IE7) and Windows Media Player 11 -- will soon be available for Windows XP. IE7 will be made available to Windows XP customers via free download in the next two weeks, and Windows Media Player 11 will be available as a free download beginning Oct. 24, Microsoft said.

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Elizabeth Montalbano

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